WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama pressed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Friday to build a more inclusive democracy in his country and said the United States would cooperate with Iraq as it tries to push back a resurgent al-Qaida.
As Iraq experiences a rising spiral of sectarian violence two years after US troops departed following eight years of war, Maliki came to Washington seeking US help to counter a Sunni insurgency revived in part by Syria's civil war next door.
Obama, in White House Oval Office remarks with Maliki at his side, made no mention of supplying the US-made Apache helicopters the Iraqis are seeking from the United States.
A statement issued by the two governments said both delegations agreed that Iraqi forces urgently needed additional equipment to conduct operations in remote areas where militant camps are located. But it did not specifically cite military aid.
"We had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization that operates not only in Iraq but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States," Obama said.